Friday, April 23, 2010

Letter to the editor

Here's the text of a letter I wrote this evening to the SB NewsPress. I'll update this post when/if it's published.

Update: The letter was published in the SB NewsPress on April 29, 2010.

To the editor:

I’m an unabashed liberal who believes that Lois Capps, during the years since she succeeded her husband Walter as our Congressional representative, has served the Central Coast well. She has a strong record on the environment, healthcare, civil liberties—indeed, on many important questions. But of late, on the most critical issue we face—the security of our nation and its place in the world—she has revealed herself to be merely a Democratic Party hack. I’m talking about the war—now Obama’s war—in Afghanistan.

The House of Representatives holds the “power of the purse,” and will shortly be faced, again, with deciding whether to increase funding the war, this time with an additional 33 billion dollars. (The House bill will likely—in a cynical move—include a fund for Haitian relief, in order to wrap it in legitimacy, but that provision can be separated out.) The question is: How will Lois Capps vote? Will she have the guts to say: “No! My conscience, and my constituents, demand that this killing in Afghanistan cease. Our soldiers—and Afghanis and Pakistanis—are dying for no purpose and to no effect except to harden terrorists’ resolve to attack America.” Or will she vote—as she has heretofore—to continue funding this wretched, wicked war because the Democratic Leadership (Obama, Pelosi, Reid—the usual suspects) demand that she comply with the Party Line.

I’m not asking much of Lois Capps. I’m simply asking her to ask herself, “How would Walter vote?”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Whaddya think?

Is the US Air Force just launching this thing for a lark? I must say, if I were Russia--or any other nation--I'd be, as they say, up in arms.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to raise taxes without much political or economic pain?

A good suggestion, for starters: limit the now-unlimited deduction for home-mortgage interest payments. If you've bought a million-dollar home, financing the purchase with a $750,000 30-year mortgage, you now may deduct the entire interest component of your monthly payment, which could be as much as 4/5 of the payment in the first years of the mortgage. That interest amount is currently deductible, creating a huge drop in income-tax liability for those who inhabit giant, expensive homes.

Why not limit the home-mortgage interest deduction to a fixed sum, say, the amount of interest on a loan equalling a percentage of the median value of homes in various locales? This would leave the deduction intact for those who live in modest homes, but wouldn't allow the wealthy to benefit from their expensive, much leveraged homes at the expense of those who live more modestly.

Tell me, if you can, why that's not fair.